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Sale & purchase

Why is a priority search essential in conveyancing?

priority search in conveyancing

Buying a home involves many important steps. You must be careful every step of the way because it could well be one of the largest investments you make in your life. Priority search is one of the key steps that ensure the seller has the complete right to the property and notifies if anyone has made any charges or has any interest or rights on the property. The steps of conveyancing are often very complex; however, you can make it easier with the help of good conveyancing solicitors. In the process of conveyancing, there are some crucial points which you should miss out. One of those crucial points involve performing the adequate number of searches on the property. Searches could vary from environmental searches to water and drainage searches to the local authority searches that reveal every possible detail on the property that is in public domain. There are a few other searches which are not mandatory in all conveyancing transactions but rather, is specific to the property in question. Let us delve more into one such search, namely priority search which is mandatorily conducted for every property transaction.

What are searches?

While many people are not aware of the significance of conducting searches, an experienced conveyancer would have ample examples of how different types of searches will help you avoid unexpected risks associated with conveyancing. While it is true that searches come with a not-so-cheap price tag but not availing the search could cost you hundreds of thousand pounds in the long run and could seriously undermine the value and marketability of the property. Searches also make the conveyancing process more transparent and stress-free.

What is a Priority Search?

Priority search is one of the most important searches conducted in the  conveyancing process. It is conducted by the buyer’s solicitor after the exchange of contracts.

Priority searches are some of the last-minute searches conducted by the solicitor. This is conducted immediately before the completion. It is done to ensure that no changes are made to the title of the property that you intend to buy, since the Official copies are first obtained, in the early stage of the conveyancing process. The priority search has a 30 day exclusivity period from the date of the search, when no one else can make any changes to the title deeds. This called priority notice.

Why is a priority search conducted?

Once you have exchanged the contract, you are bound to complete the sale; since the penalty for a recission of a contract to sale is hefty. Moving forward with the completion and registration without conducting the priority searches involves a high degree of risk. This search will help you find whether anyone has made any charges or has any interest or rights on the property. This also clarifies the complete right of the seller to sell the property.

Once the results of the priority searches are clear, you get a “priority” till registration. A priority notices notifies anyone who searches the register that there is an instrument or transaction pending, and holds the priority holder’s interest in place.

When to conduct a search?

Usually, people conduct it just a  day before the completion, so o they get a span of 30 days with priority in order to get the registration completed in that span. This will also ensure that you get exclusive rights on the title of the property until the registration is completed. This is one of the main reasons why all the solicitors insist that you conduct a priority search. Generally, a priority search is conducted for £4.

Also read:

What are Local Authority Searches?
The significance of bankruptcy searches in conveyancing

Photo courtesy: Stevecadman



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